Archive | cooking for Jewish Hol RSS feed for this section

3 Tips to Make Pasover Easy and Avoid the Expensive Stuff!

13 Apr

For many years I heard the complaints and gave in.   I kept kosher and like so many other people I found that my husband and son  thought that they could not survive without pasta or Cheerios for 8 days.  So, I gave in,  I bought the Pesach version of pasta (yuck!) and the Pesach version of Cheerios (3 or four times the price per volume!) and found they were not very good.

I found some basic steps I could take to minimize the expense by avoiding the prepared or convenience items which I rarely use anyway and maximize the taste by using more fresh products.So, no cake mixes.  No paying extra for broken matzoh (crumble it yourself if you need to!). Enjoy my brownie recipe using potato starch rather than flour!

First, think in terms of the Mediterranean diet or the Oriental diets.  More vegetables, prepared different ways alongside smaller portions of proteins for dinners especially during the week. I love roasted vegetables (white and sweet potatoes, zucchini and more) alongside roasted or baked chicken as well as a stir fry of onion, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash and more.  There is always salads like spinach with strawberry to spice things up.

Secondly, think a bit of flexibility on your menus. Burgers don’t need fillers such as matzoh meal or bread crumbs.  Without that, they don’t need the egg t hold it together. Mix the ground beef with chopped onions and garlic and shape the burgers into sliders. Bake, grill or fry as normally would and enjoy!  You can also add herbs in the mixture as you choose!

Thirdly, since my husband is now Gluten-Free as we found out he has Celiac I prepare his food without wheat. We love to make potatoes several ways.  I make potato kugel (with or without carrots, zucchini or sweet potatoes for color), I make mashed potatoes with sauteed onion (using olive oil and no dairy or dairy substitute).  Now according to many authorities quinoa is acceptable during Passover!! Hooray as we love it.

If you are in the area of Palm Beach County, Florida you can hire ChefHelen as your Personal Chef.  ChefHelen can do the shopping for menus we have planned out together and prepare the meals in your home on YOUR equipment

 

Just call, email or text me to set up your free consultation.  Chef Helen Gottesman

561-676-2078 .chefhelen@helenshomecooking.com

Check out my website at http://www.helenshomecooking.com

#matzo #KOSHERCHEF #Pesach #Passover #Recipes

 

 

 

Enjoy Dinners Professionally Prepared in Your Home

21 Mar

Chef Helen prepares weekly meals for you and your family

Meal plans from as little as $25.00 per person!

Experienced in kosher, Gluten-Free, Salt Free and Sugar Free Diets and more.

Call today for your free consultation! 561-676-2078 helen@helenshomecooking.com

cropped-373595_132948006725472_546601166_n.jpg

 

Time Magazine’s list of Broken New Years Resolutions Same as 2015?

30 Dec

Man plans, G-d laughs.

We make resolutions whether out loud, written or to ourselves.  According to Time Magazine, here is the list of most broken New Years resolutions.  How can we do better this year?

Do you need someone to guide you with exercise, relaxation, fiscal responsibility, educating yourself, or my favorite:  EATING BETTER.

I can help you with eating better and refer to some of the best local (South Florida) people to help you with the rest!

Do you need help planning menus?Are you looking for someone to prepare meals in your home that will address any health issues and will please the palate of everyone in your household?

Call Chef Helen at 561-676-2078 or email to schedule your free in-home pr phone consultation.

helen@helenshomecooking.com or check out my website at

http://www.helenshomecooking.com

Comfort Foods

15 Dec

As a Personal Chef I talk to people about food. Most importantly I speak with my current and future clients about how food makes them feel.  Food is emotionally charged. Some people had bad experiences, being forced to eat poorly prepared vegetables growing up that made them forever avoid healthy choices and add to their poor nutrition and poor health.

My goal is to turn that around for people.  I talk to the potential client , preferably in their home.  I find out what they eat and WHY.  I am no therapist but giving people roast cauliflower or roast beets that are good enough to snack on has been the beginning of changing people’s lives.

I learn about their cultural food choices.  while with my background as an Ashkenazic Jew, brisket and Pflaumen kuchen top my list as do my mother’s spritz cookies (recipes another time) for an Italian it my be meatballs and spaghetti or Lasagna.  I find your comfort foods, your dietary needs (are you allergic to a specific food? are you kosher (my specialty!!) supposed to lower your fat or salt  or do you just HATE peanut butter like I do?) .

I figure out the menu with your help.  I shop for all ingredients on the way to your home and cook everything there.

Since my focus is kosher clients, by using the clients equipment I don’t have questions about anything getting mixed up.

561-676-2078 helen@helenshomecooking.com

Chef Helen Gottesman

 

 

 

Potato Latkes Hannukah is Coming Book Your Date Now Before It’s Taken Hannukah’s Coming Soon. Book Y our Date Nowour Dinner Plans Now Before We Are Full!

6 Dec
http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htm  Click here if you want to get on our Classic-Latkes-Applesauce-2mailing list for cooking and recipe tips

 

Chanukah or is it Hannukah?  The holiday name is translated from the Hebrew which means dedication. Many schoolchildren know the story of the small unadulterated oil found in THE temple in Jerusalem after it was mostly destroyed by the Syrian Greeks.  The oil lasted for 8 days rather than a single expected day, long enough for a rider to get a replacement from another city. The oil is central to the dishes we eat for Chanukah , everything deep fried,  (OK, so we skip healthy for one night) .

Many Jewish Holidays seem to be we were few , we beat the big army: Now, we can live as Jews!  Let’s eat.

Since the story of the Hasmoneans beating the Greek army involves the miracle of the small vial of oil that had hat been defiled by the Greeks lasting 8 days.(Long enough for a rider to get another replacement supply for the Temple in Jerusalem). We now celebrate with foods fried in oil.  Typical foods involve latkes (potato pancakes) (recipe to follow) and sufganiyot an Israeli jelly doughnut that puts  Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme to shame (By the way , I love Dunkin Donuts).  By the way, this recipe is kosher, Gluten-Free, vegan and delicious! Perfect for celiac sufferers who avoid this recipe because it is usually made with flour.

Remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to like or make Potato Latkes.

Preparing the latkes (and Potato kugel)#latke #kugel this way keeps you from having a  grey potato dish which I always found unappetizing. #sufganiyot #oilChanukah #oilHanukah

Potato Latkes for Chanukah or anytime

Enough for 3 to 4 people

2 Large White Potatoes, peeled

1 peeled onion

salt

1 egg

Mild flavored Vegetable oil such as safflower or corn

Grate the short side of  the Potatoes against the larger spaced sides of a box grater into a bowl of ice water. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes which gives the potato starch time to set in the water.  Squeeze the water out by handfuls of potato into a second bowl until most potato is gone from first bowl. Grate onion into drained potatoes and add salt and pepper. Pour off the water slowly from first bowl, leaving some more grated potato and the natural potato starch. When you have all the water poured off, add it to the second bowl and mix well.

Fill frying pan with 1 1/2 inches of oil an d heat.  add potato mixture by the soup spoon into the hot oil.  Give the latkes about 2 minutes to turn golden brown and flip them , til brown on the second side.  then, place on paper towl line plain to drain off excess oil. Keep going with all potato mixture.

For me, there is nothing better than latkes topped with apple sauce.  Pthers recommend sour cream with chives.

Variation  If latkes are too boring, grate in either a little carrot, zucchini or some fresh chopped parsley although I am a purist myself

No time to fuss, call on your chef in Florida , Helen thttp://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htmo make this and other holiday favorites for you in your kitchen

 Please join my email list for more information, recipes and cooking tips and  contests.

http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htm

helen@helenshomecooking.com

561-676-2078 http://www.helenshomecooking.com

When can we schedule your free consultation, either over the phone or in your home?

Rosh HaShanah Dishes for the Soul

6 Sep

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul

Comments 0

Access to MyPalmBeachPost.com included for Post subscribers

Explore

Personal chef Helen Gottesman of Helen’s Home Cooking prepares a kosher holiday meal. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Before Helen Gottesman looks into the depths of the new year, she glances back to remember the sweetest, most flavorful dishes of her childhood.

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul photo

The most vivid culinary memory of Rosh Hashanas past: Pflaumenkuchen, her Czech-German grandmother’s special plum tart.

“I remember the smell of the plums. My mother made a couple of dishes wonderfully, and one of them was my grandmother’s plum tart. She would use Italian prune plums. They came into season shortly before Rosh Hashana – and it was a short season,” recalls Gottesman, a New York native who works as a personal chef in Boynton Beach.

This is the great motif of Gottesman’s home cooking – comfort foods that pay homage to family memories. And as the Jewish New Year begins at sunset tonight, ushering in 10 days of reflection and repentance, she will greet it with prayer, introspection and kosher dishes reminiscent of her younger years in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of Queens.

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul photo

“We would always have the matzo ball soup and, typically, challah,” says Gottesman, 55, who now bakes eight loaves of traditional challah bread at a time.

Helen Gottesman prepares her plum tart (or pflaumen kuchen). (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

And because Rosh Hashana exalts the sweetest of foods – as in honey-dipped apples to beckon happiness – there was always a piece of that ­fragrant, open-face plum tart, a culinary prayer for a sweet life.

Today, in accordance with her Orthodox Jewish faith, Gottesman keeps a kosher kitchen. But “kitchen” is a movable notion for a woman who turned a love of cooking Shabbat dinner for friends – and a knowledge of nutrition and kosher standards – into a small enterprise she calls Helen’s Home Cooking ( helenshomecooking.com).

Usually, she cooks in other people’s kitchens.

“Because I focus on kosher cooking and I keep kosher myself, I’m aware that people are particular about anything that comes into their house,” says Gottesman, who shares her home with husband. Robert, an educator, and 16-year-old son, Adir.

So when she cooked an early Rosh Hashana dinner at a friend’s home on a recent weeknight, Gottesman worked with fresh ingredients her friend had shopped for and brought only the items her friend was missing. While other mobile chefs may carry their own knives and trusty spice kits, she used her friend’s cooking vessels and kitchen utensils.

On the menu that day: one soul-warming comfort dish after another. She roasted a chicken with sweet potatoes, white potatoes and carrots, a sweet noodle kugel with sugar and apples, a batch of almond-flecked green beans, a steaming pot of matzo ball soup and her grandmother’s plum tart.

It’s the kind of cooking that stirs easy conversation with friends and clients.

“If I’m in their kitchen, I hear their food stories, what they like and what they don’t, what their idea of comfort food is. For some, it’s lasagna. You never know. It all depends where and how they grew up,” says Gottesman.

She says a lot of her clients are seniors who don’t cook for themselves anymore. “And they don’t like the takeout places. Typically, what they want is the comfort foods they grew up with,” says the chef.

She dreams of opening a healthy kosher café one day, “a place of coffee, homemade breads and vegetarian items.” But for now she cooks wherever a kitchen welcomes her.

“I love cooking,” says Gottesman. “When I start cooking, I can get a little carried away and my husband tells me, ‘Don’t you realize there are only three of us in this house?'”

PFLAUMENKUCHEN (PLUM TART) WITH MUERBETEIG DOUGH CRUST

TO MAKE THE CRUST:

1 cup margarine

3 cups flour

2 egg yolks

1 lemon

1/4 cup sugar

Cream margarine and sugar, add flour then egg yolks along with grated rind of lemon along with the juice. Chill dough for at least half an hour and then pat into large pie tin with fingers.

TO MAKE THE PLUM TART:

Muerbeteig dough

6-9 Italian prune plums

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut plums into eighths and place them skin side down in the pie pan starting with the outside going halfway up the side. When all of the space is covered, sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 30 minutes at 350º. Tart is done when crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before serving.

ROAST CHICKEN WITH VEGETABLES

Serve with vegetables on the side.

1 chicken cut into eighths or serving size pieces

1 large sweet potato or 2 medium, peeled and cut into chunks

2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion sliced or cut into chunks

1 zucchini, sliced

Garlic, a few cloves

1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced or diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Paprika, to taste

In a roasting pan place bed of vegetables and mix them up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, top with chicken pieces skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and paprika.

Place in preheated 350º oven. After 30 minutes, turn chicken pieces over and sprinkle salt and pepper and paprika on the chicken if you have not already done so. When this is done (it will be browned) turn chicken pieces back to skin side up and cook for another 30 minutes. (Cooking time is about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 11/2 hours.)

STRING BEANS ALMONDINE

1 to 11/2 pounds string beans

1 tablespoon margarine

1/4 cup almonds, slivered or sliced

1/4 red pepper, slivered

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut tips off string beans. Either leave beans whole or slice into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Place into boiling salted water until they are tender, but still bright green in color.

Drain the string beans. In the same pot, melt margarine and lightly sauté almonds. Add red pepper and cook to soften slightly. Then add the string beans to heat through.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and serve.

Recipes by Helen Gottesman, helenshomecooking.com

MICHELLE BERNSTEIN’S WHOLE STRIPED BASS WITH ARTICHOKES AND FENNEL

1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced in rings

2 (1.5 pound) whole bass, gutted and scales removed, cleaned

1/4 cup olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon, reserve juice

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon zahtar (a sesame seed-based Middle Eastern spice blend)

1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1/2 cup dill, chopped

8 plum tomatoes, quartered

2 artichokes, trimmed of outer leaves, cut in quarters

1 fennel bulb, cut in small diced pieces

Preheat oven to 375º.

Place the onion in a single layer onto a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the fish in a large bowl and add the oil, lemon zest, fennel seeds, garlic, zahtar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place the fish over the onions, reserve the oil and spices in the bowl.

Place the tomatoes around the fish, as well as artichokes and fennel bulb. Drizzle the reserved oil and spices over the fish and vegetables.

Cover the pan with aluminum and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the aluminum and raise the heat to 400º. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Check doneness of the artichokes, if they are tender they are ready, if not, remove the fish carefully with a spatula and set aside covered to keep warm and cook the rest of the vegetables until the artichokes are tender.

MICHELLE BERNSTEIN’S CHICKEN SOUP

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 chicken, about 4 pounds, skinned, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 6 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 breasts)

2 cups minced Spanish onion

1 cup finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced carrots

1 bay leaf

About 4 quarts chicken broth

1 cup finely diced chayote (small green squash popular in Latin American cooking)

11/2 cups peeled sweet potato, medium dice (from about 1 large potato)

2 medium ears of corn, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 cup dill leaves

1 teaspoon habanero pepper, or jalapeño, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems

1 lime, quartered or cut into sixths (1 wedge per person)

Salt and pepper

Put the chicken, onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaf in a large stock pot and cover with cold chicken broth or cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, moist, and tender, about 1 hour. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Add the chayote, sweet potato, corn, dill, and habanero to the pot. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about 30 minutes.

Shred the cooled chicken meat by hand and return it to the pot. Stir in the cilantro and cook for about 5 minutes to rewarm the chicken and further develop the flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into 4 to 6 bowls, making sure to get a good mix of vegetables in each bowl. Serve with a wedge of lime.

CHEF ALLEN’S EXOTIC SPICE BRAISED BRISKET

(Serves 6)

5 pounds brisket, first cut, well marbled

4 tablespoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

3 large cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sticks cinnamon

3 stars of star anise

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1 large orange, cut in eighths

3 teaspoons bitters

2 tablespoons good tomato paste

1 bottle pinot noir (use kosher wine for a kosher recipe)

To prepare the brisket: Rub the brisket with 3 tablespoons salt and set aside in a dish for 1 hour. Rinse the salt off under running cold water and pat dry. Place a heavy braising pan over high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil. Carefully add the brisket and sear the first side for 2-3 minutes. Turn the beef with a meat tong and brown the second side for another 4-5 minutes. To braise the brisket: Preheat the oven to 325º. Remove the brisket from the pan to a platter. Add the vegetables, spices and orange to the pan. Stir in the bitters and tomato paste. Place the beef on top of the braising mixture and add enough wine to cover the meat by a good 2-3 inches.( You may add more wine or water.) Cover the braising pan with a lid or tightly with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Slowly braise with the cover on for 3 hours until fork tender.

To serve the brisket: Remove the braised beef from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let the brisket rest for a good 5 minutes before attempting to slice. Skim the fat from the braising liquid, and remove the cinnamon sticks. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary. Spoon the vegetables and pan juices into a gravy boat. Now carefully cut the beef across the grain in short thick slices. Serve with pan juice

Image

Mini Spicy zucchini Cheese quiches

31 Jul

Mini Spicy zucchini Cheese quiches

One of my standard dairy appetizers for parties is these mini cheese quiches. I use about 3 to 4 dozen of the mini muffin cups (in the freezer section from Wal-mart or another store. I dice up about 6 ounces of Cabot Pepper Jack cheese (Cheddar ma ybe used if you don’t like spice) and put it in the muffin cups. Saute 1 finely diced or grated zucchini in 1 T.oil until slightly browned. Divide evenly between muffin cups, Mix 1/4 cup milk and 2 egg yolks and a dash of nutmeg and pour over the vegetables and cheese filling to near the to. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until browned on top Serve while hot

Let me know how you like it.

%d bloggers like this: